Normally, I avoid dealing with religious groups other than those previously mentioned on this website, but this question indeed merits some attention.
It is based primarily on the Bible with Ellen G. White's special revelations separating it from other Christian movements. She received revelations to the effect that the Pope changed the Sabbath day from Sunday to Saturday. Also, she had a vision where she went to heaven, Jesus showed her the Ark of the Covenant with the Bible inside. He opened it up to the ten commandments, and the fourth commandment shined brighter than the other commandments, and she understood that it was still in effect today. ("Early Writings of Ellen G. White", p. 33)
They foresee a legal requirement coming so that every Christian will have to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, and this will be the "mark of the beast" spoken of in the book of Revelation. Meantime, they are very moral people in most respects and are noted especially for their emphasis on eating healthily, sponsoring excellent hospitals and clinics and elementary schools in poor areas of the world.
Answer: I believe that it may be referring to the literal city of Babylon of Old Testament times. Or it may be referring to the nation of the United States.
(1) If it is referring to the city of Babylon, then expect the Middle East to soon assert its power as world leader and controller of the world's markets. I say this, because the last verse of the chapter refers to its practice of murdering all who do not agree with Islam.
(2) If it is referring to the nation of the United States, it is that last verse where it decrees the extermination of all Christians and resisters to its world domination that has yet to be fulfilled.
I met a girl here in this country whom I married while I was serving in the U.S. Armed Services. I now live here permanently, and we are raising our family together. However, the Mormon elders kept coming by from time to time and my faith was really being shaken. I almost went back to the Mormon church.
After studying your website, I understood better where I stand in Christ, and thank you for making this material available to me.
My Response: That is exactly why I put up this website! God bless you!
Answer: I like it!
My Answer: In order to understand the studied savagery of ISIS, we must understand the depths of evil to which man has fallen. It started in the Garden of Eden and has continued to the present day. Satan’s first act on earth was to question God’s commands and motives.1 The horror which ISIS is imposing upon its victims and the world is only the end result of such a process.
The command of God to the world today is to repent of our sins and believe on Jesus Christ, whom He has sent into the world.2 To get a grip on why ISIS is so evil, it must be pointed out that though Islam claims to honor Jesus Christ as a prophet, yet it defines the only unforgiveable sin as “Shirk,” which means “adding partners in worship to God.”3 That includes not only polytheism, but also confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and worshipping him.4 Christian missionaries have found that every religion in the world except Islam has something they can latch on to and bring those people to faith in Christ. Islam is, therefore, by its very nature, Anti-Christ and actively resists faith in Christ as Savior. Perhaps that is why so many Muslims are being converted by Christ Himself through their dreams.
God has given us two testimonies to His own nature: That of nature (natural revelation) and the Bible (special revelation). Man, in his fallen state, will not naturally exercise his free will to seek either the Creator, or the Bible. That can only happen through a special merciful act of God. It happens when God removes the spiritual blinders that we inherit at birth due to Fall of Adam.5 You see, the whole world without the revelation of God lies in wickedness, or, more literally, sleeping in the arms of Satan. Natural man is not inclined to seek out God nor His ways.6 The way God has ordained to free us from that lost and fallen state is through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 7
1 Genesis 3:1-5, 2 John 6:28-29; Acts 17:30, 3 Qur’an 4:116, 4 John 14:6-14, 5 Romans 5:17-21, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 6 Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 3:9-19, 7 Romans 1:16
Hello, Rev. Dean:
Kindly help me, sir. I need salvation now. I am a pagan who wants to cross over to Jesus. Lead and direct me, sir. Hoping for your direction,
Do you believe that Jesus Christ was sent to earth by Father God, that he was born of a virgin, that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he resurrected on the third day and is now seated at the right hand of God where he is praying for us?
If so, then simply bow your knee before God and confess these things aloud with your mouth, really believe them in your heart, and ask Christ to take over your life. Tell him you are sorry for your many sins, and that with his help, you will turn your back on them from now on. Talk to Jesus Christ every day, just the same way you would talk to a friend. Do it every day. Tell him that you will live for him for the rest of your life and share him and this good news with others as best you can.
Look for other people who are following Jesus and make friend of them. You need fellowship with believers in Christ as your friends. Perhaps they have a gathering place where they study the scriptures and pray. Join in with them to worship God. Get a Bible if you don't have one. Read it daily. Start with the Gospel of John in the New Testament.
If you really are serious and start doing these things as best you can, contact me again and I will give you further instructions.
God bless you. I will be praying for you.
The best Bible verse I can think of is John 10:10: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: " I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
In my opinion, many Islamic scholars and ISIS sympathizers are for ISIS in their hearts, though they may publicly profess to be against them and their violent ways. If not, I hold that they should make a clear break with Islam, repent of their rejection of Christ as the Son of God, and publicly profess allegiance to Jesus Christ, regardless of the consequences.
Questions and My Answers:
What do Mormons believe about the following topics, and how do I answer them?
1. Life after death.
Mormonism has have quite a complicated system for the afterlife, with different levels of heaven and hell only for those who actively oppose Mormonism. How do we explain simply what the Bible teaches?
We believe in heaven and hell, period. While there will certainly be different awards to the saved in heaven, we believe that Jesus’ blood shed on the cross paid completely for the forgiveness from all sin, and we will all be together in a single heaven. Hell is for those who knowingly reject the Gospel (Hebrews 9:27, Matthew 25:46; Mark 16:16)
We believe that heaven is where the saved go after death where they will rule and reign forever with Christ. Paradise is the word used to described the place of those saved before Christ by (1) heeding the Law of Moses under the Old Covenant or (2) those who have never heard the Gospel, but lived by all the light they had under the Law of Conscience. Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses. (Romans 10:4) After his crucifixion, he preached to the spirits of those in Hades who lived before Christ. (1 Peter 3:18-20; Romans 2:14-16)
3. Spirit Prison
Christ took “captivity captive” through his death and resurrection. (Ephesians 4:8-10) That is when salvation for all who would be saved from Adam up to the time of Christ were taken by Christ from Hades (spirit prison) to Heaven. (Acts 17:23-31; Colossians 1:12-14)
4. Baptism for the dead.
Interestingly enough, the Book of Mormon itself clearly contradicts this teaching. Alma 34:32-35 says that "this life" will determine our eternal destiny. It makes it clear that "that same spirit which doth possess your bodies" at the time of death "will have power to possess your body in that eternal world." It says that if you have neglected your salvation that long, the devil will "seal you his" and that "this is the final state of the wicked."
Aside from that interesting aside, I can say that at least one pagan cult near Corinth practiced baptizing for the dead. Some of those people were early converts and apparently asked questions about it. Paul showed in 1 Corinthians 15 the meaningless of that practice due to the work of Christ on the cross, which provides for the salvation of all mankind if they repent and believe the Gospel. Note that in 1 Corinthians 15:29, Paul asks, “What shall they do which are baptized for the dead. Why are they then baptized for the dead?” He does not say “That is why we are baptized for the dead.” Such a baptismal rite is meaningless now that the fullness of the Gospel is available. (Mark 16:15-16)
5. What happens to those who die without hearing the Gospel.
Those who have not heard the Gospel here on earth will be judged by the law of conscience. They are judged differently than we who have heard the Gospel. (Romans 2:14-16; Genesis 17:25)
6. What do Mormons mean when they talk about "salvation?"
Mormons define “salvation” as what we understand as the resurrection from the dead. They think that Christ is a spirit-brother to Satan and only provides resurrection to all mankind. (1 Corinthians 15: 21-22) However, they have an elaborate system of rituals that they must fulfill to go to the highest level of heaven, which they call "exaltation." That is where only faithful Temple Mormons go, and only there do they believe they will be with their earthly family and their offspring they had on earth and will engender there. Its attainment is only available through the the redemptive work of their founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., not through Christ's work.
7. What is meant by "The Family Proclamation.:
This is a statement given at a General Conference of the LDS church which defines their teachings on the family. It has many good things in it as well as some very heretical doctrines. For example, It teaches that people pre-existed before their life on this earth, that their gender here was determined by their behavior in the pre-existence, and that they will remain as families throughout all eternity. None of these teachings are biblical. There is no marriage in heaven. Bible passages which contradict those doctrines are:
a. We did not pre-exist before this life: (Zechariah 12:1—Man’s spirit was formed by God “within him,” not in the pre-existence. 1 Corinthians 15:46-47— Speaking of our bodies and the resurrection from the dead, “That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”)
b. Mormons are confused about God’s omniscience. They don’t accept that He knows all things long before they happen. Therefore they try to use the Bible’s passages where it says that He knew us before the foundation of the world to say that we pre-existed. (See Ephesians 1:4-6) Certain things are foreordained of God, but that does not mean that they pre-existed.
c. There will be no eternal families—We will be the bride of Christ! (Revelation 21:9; 22:17) We will all be one happy family in heaven. Nobody will be in a married state there and have offspring! There will be no need for that. We will all live eternally! As for our state in heaven, the Bible says that we will be as the angels in heaven, and Mormonism teaches that angels are not married! See Mark 12:25
8. Where did Jesus go for the three days he was in the grave and before his resurrection?
I think I already answered the question about where Jesus went for the three days he was in the grave. He went to Paradise, which up until then, was in Hades, divided from the damned by a great chasm from the blessed who were with Abraham. (See Luke 23:43) Of course, after he “preached to the spirits in prison,” he ascended into heaven leading “captivity” (those who had been with Abraham in Hades) "captive" (on up to heaven.) See also John 20:17 and Matthew 27:52-53. We believe that the resurrected saints whose graves were opened after Christ's resurrection probably died recently, and died again after that outburst of resurrection life!
On this subject, what makes you think that the nations of the earth will ever actually repent and turn to God?
Answer: That is a good question! Not only did Jesus promise that the "meek will inherit the earth," but the Bible explains that the wrath of God displayed will cause man to humble himself and worship God. Look at the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 15:3-4:
"And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."
Question: In your latest essay in the "Writing" section, you make a great deal out of the fact that the Mormon Church no longer believes that the American Indian will turn white upon converting to Mormonism. I say, Why do you make such a big deal out of that?
Answer: Before 1965. when I realized that I had been totally deceived with that teaching (and others) all my life, I had counted on that "miracle" to convince the naysayers of the Book of Mormon of their error. I believed that that sign would be given to the world as empirical evidence that the Second Coming of Christ was near at hand. I was prepared to trumpet to the entire world that fact, pointing out that this was literal fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophecy! I also believed that it would signal the coming destruction of those who had rejected the Book of Mormon "gospel" by those very Indians that now believed it and had had their skin curse removed!. (See My Personal Testimony on the "Writings" page.)
So when the Mormon Church changed the text of the Book of Mormon to remove that prophecy, it was like pulling the rug from beneath all the American Indian Mormons as well as the dark-skinned Polynesians who had been taught that they were of Israel and their skin curse would be removed, and they would turn white and become civilized!
I talked this over with some people from the RLDS community, whose Book of Mormon still contains that prophecy, and they are convinced that many of their seemingly white Indian converts who are the products of intermarriage with Anglos fit the bill just fine. Ho-hum!!!
Dear Dr. Helland:
I want to express my sincere thanks for the time you spent assisting our family concerning my son's pursuit of Mormonism. Upon meeting you in Tulsa, my son and I were impressed with the way you chose to be factual and did not belittle his thoughts on Mormonism. The immense amount of time you spent with him seemed comparable to a mini-seminar. The materials you gave to us to read were exceptional. I highly recommend your research project: "Meeting the Book of Mormon Challenge in Chile." That and other materials you gave us equipped us with more than enough sufficient information on the Mormon belief system.
You are to be commended for your approach in helping young people make intelligent decisions. Today's Christian young people need facts and knowledge concerning Mormonism before they decide to convert to it. Since most the converts to Mormonism seem to come from Christian backgrounds, it warrants our concern to properly educate them before they are led astray. Unfortunately, all too often they are turned off by Christianity by the hypocrisy they have seen in the Church. If you ever need to use me as a recommendation, please feel free to do so. I will always cherish the time you spent with my son.
Question: A big new religious movement is based on the biblical text that says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) To me it seems to be just another form of the New Age movement, stressed on focusing one's mental energies toward a given goal and meditating on it until it becomes reality. What do you think about it?
Answer: "Any text without a context is a pretext," is my answer. You are right. The context of the biblical passage referred to is actually a warning about people with flattering words in their mouth but evil motives in their heart. That movement is just another form of Gnosticism (special knowledge). As such, it deviates seriously from the Bible message.
As for the condition of natural man without God, it is summed up in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Question: How do you account for the enormous contributions to mankind by Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, etc., when you describe their sacred books such as the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon as of satanic inspiration? I guess that could apply equally to the philosophers, scientists, atheists and agnostics, as well as the animists and outright pagans with their great books who also have made and continue to make such marvelous contributions to the good of mankind.
My Answer: Here, of course, you enter into the area of theology and the nature of man. I approach this subject from the Biblical world view as depicted in the first few chapters of the book of Genesis. Here we find man as created in the image of God, but as a cracked and imperfect image of God, thus capable of nearly inestimable creativity and good works as well as a nearly unimaginable capacity for evil. They both come in the same package!
That is where forgiveness and redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on the cruel cross of Calvary, takes on its full meaning. It provides for the healing and gradual elimination of those distortions in the image of God in man which make evil so hard to avoid, and grant him peace with his Creator and the promise of complete wholeness after the resurrection when he will enjoy eternal life and total communion with God.
Where all of these man-made religions and philosophies go wrong is that they reject this central message and the only means of salvation when they reject the sacred and holy nature of the inspired Word of God which we have in the Bible, and hold some other train of thought to be their ticket to self-justification and acceptance of themselves in their lost and fallen condition.
The Ten Commandments appear listed twice in the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:7-21, and form the basis of wholesome living. They were written on stone tablets with the finger of God on Mount Sinai in the desert shortly after God delivered the Israelites from captivity in Egypt. They were commended to Moses to give to the Israelites.
They are impossible to keep perfectly without the help of God, and they help our conscience to understand right and wrong. Since you may not have access to a Bible, I will quote them in their entirety from a modern translation of the Bible, the New Living Translation, (1996), published by the Tyndale House Publishers in Wheaton, Illinois, USA:
1. "Do not worship any other gods besides me.
2. "Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not share your affection with any other god! I do not leave unpunished the sins of those who hate me, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations. But I lavish my love on those who love me and obey my commands, even for a thousand generations.
3. "Do not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
4. "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days a week are set apart for your daily duties and regular work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any kind of work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; then he rested on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
5. "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God will give you.
6. "Do not murder.
7. "Do not commit adultery.
8. "Do not steal.
9. "Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
10. "Do not covet your neighbor's house. Do not covet your neighbor's wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns."
When Jesus referred to them in New Testament times, he summed them up in Matthew 22:37-40, saying:
"'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'
"This is the first and greatest commandment.
"A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
"All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."